What is leaky gut syndrome? How do you tell if you have a leaky gut? And what kinds of cures are available? While these questions remain popular among those experiencing symptoms, answers aren't always easy to come by. As of today, the medical field does not recognize leaky gut syndrome as an official medical diagnosis. Some practitioners deny it even exists. That said, there is an increasing amount of scientific evidence pointing to the fact that the condition is real, and it may be associated with other health conditions.
Read on below to learn more about leaky gut syndrome and what it means for your overall health.
The human body consists of hundreds of organs, including the gut or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This region covers approximately 32 square meters of surface area. The GI tract contains an extensive intestinal lining that controls what gets absorbed in the bloodstream, and what doesn't.
Leaky gut syndrome, otherwise known as increased intestinal permeability, is a digestive condition in which this barrier becomes loose, allowing for bacteria, undigested food particles, and toxins to leak into the bloodstream.
This increased intestinal permeability can cause inflammation and changes in the gut microbiota, jeopardizing your ability to maintain a healthy gut. And as we now know, gut health affects various systems in the body. Advocates of leaky gut syndrome warn that this breakdown can lead to more serious conditions including lupus, type 1 diabetes, or multiple sclerosis.
Leaky gut has also been associated with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, arthritis, food allergies, asthma, acne, obesity, and even certain mental illnesses.
While medical science does agree that increased intestinal permeability exists in certain chronic diseases such as celiac disease, this usually happens as a symptom or effect of said disease and not a cause. There are still very few clinical studies that prove the connection between leaky gut and the aforementioned conditions.
Again, leaky gut syndrome is not a recognized medical diagnosis, but experts have outlined several symptoms which can be attributed to a leaky gut, such as:
Experts haven't yet pinpointed what exactly causes leaky gut syndrome. However, risk factors that make one more susceptible to a leaky gut have been identified. Below is a list of issues that may cause disruptions in the gut microbiota and increased intestinal permeability.
Dysbiosis is a condition wherein the gut microbiota experiences a reduction in beneficial gut bacteria and the increase of bad bacteria. Symptoms depend on where exactly the microbial imbalance occurs. This often causes an upset stomach or bad breath, which are often mild and temporary.
Gut dysbiosis symptoms include nausea and constipation, diarrhea, bloating, rash or redness, and brain fog. In some cases, dysbiosis leads to difficulty urinating, vaginal or rectal itching, chest pain, fatigue, anxiety, or depression.
A poor diet can also lead to leaky gut symptoms. Studies suggest that excessive sugar intake may harm the barrier function of the intestinal wall. This is particularly true for a diet high in dietary fructose.
Some evidence also points to nutrient deficiency as a possible cause of leaky gut. Deficiencies in vitamin A, D, and zinc have been associated with a higher risk of increased intestinal permeability.
Apart from a poor diet, overuse of harmful substances like alcohol can also lead to increased intestinal permeability.
Some studies also suggest the long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are often used to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and bring down a high temperature can also lead to a leaky gut.
Chronic stress is a contributing factor to many gastrointestinal tract disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and leaky gut. This is likely due to the bi-directional connection between the brain in the gut, called the gut-brain axis.
Disruptions in the gut-brain axis are known contributors to various diseases such as Parkinson's disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
Because leaky gut isn't officially recognized by medical professionals, receiving a diagnosis and treatment plan can be challenging. However, there are a few things people with leaky gut can try to improve their gut health which may improve symptoms of leaky gut syndrome.
Because chronic stress can contribute to leaky gut syndrome, finding ways to decompress is important. Healthy ways to handle stress include exercising regularly, practicing relaxation techniques, sleeping at least seven hours each night, reducing triggers of stress, and meditation.
You can also start setting realistic goals and expectations for yourself to avoid being overwhelmed by work or relationships. Remember, taking care of your mental health is important, not only for your digestive health but also for your overall health.
What you eat has a direct impact on how your gut functions, so adjusting your diet to include and remove certain foods may be necessary. A leaky gut diet plan should include the following foods:
Meanwhile, here is a list of foods you should avoid to improve gut health:
The gut is a major player in the body's immune response to diseases. Taking care of the digestive system helps keep harmful bacteria from affecting your health. However, it's not always easy to tell if your gut is healthy.
Improving gut health means understanding what your body is telling you. It starts with analyzing your waste, keeping track of what you eat, and identifying food intolerances to make sure you're keeping your intestinal barrier healthy.
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By tracking your vitals, body composition, and waste quality the Çava Seat is able to learn over time and make recommendations to help you live a healthier life. Join the waitlist here and be one of the first to experience it.
A leaky gut is often characterized by digestive issues, autoimmune diseases, and hormonal imbalance.
There is no definite way to diagnose leaky gut syndrome as there is still not enough clinical evidence to support this proposed gastrointestinal disorder. However, certain symptoms such as chronic diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or gas, accompanied by headaches, excessive fatigue, inflammation, a poor immune system, and skin problems may point towards leaky gut syndrome.
There is no defined cure for leaky gut syndrome, but it has been suggested that reducing stress and sticking to a gluten-free diet can help improve gut health. Avoiding harmful substances such as alcohol and tobacco may also help restore normal immune function and fight gut inflammation and leaky gut syndrome.
Symptoms of leaky gut syndrome include digestive system problems, autoimmune diseases, and hormonal imbalance. These issues often show themselves as diarrhea, bloating, gas, constipation, allergies, skin rashes, acne, headaches and brain fog, fatigue, and inflammation.